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Sarah Coles comments on the ‘Last-minute Chancellor’

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst, at Hargreaves Lansdown had this to say on the latest COVID economic relief package;

Rishi Sunak’s 11th hour support for jobs will mean a last-minute reprieve for some, but for others it’s too little, too late.

The Chancellor has laid out plans for extra jobs support after the end of this month. The new iteration of the flexible furlough scheme is much more workable, and the higher self-employment grant is less of an insult to those who work for themselves.

By cutting the number of hours people have to work in order to qualify, and slashing the percentage of salary employers have to cover for the hours not worked, it eases the pressure on employers with staff on flexible furlough, and could tempt them to keep more staff on after the end of the month.

However, there’s still a risk of millions falling through the net. If they can’t bring staff back at all, unless they’re in a local lockdown, there’s a horrible likelihood we’ll see a wave of job losses.

For self-employed people, covering 40% of profits is definitely an improvement on the derisory 20% first announced, but it’s still a horrible drop in income, and is going to feel particularly unfair when their employed counterparts are on two thirds of income.

And it’s really spectacularly late in the day to be announcing any of this. Faced with a nightmare November, employers and self-employed people will already have put plans in place, and for some it will be far too late to change tack.

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